Nikki’s Inbox: Boys to Men

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I would like to ask for some advice from you on fashion. I am a chubby guy (36 size jeans, L-XXL shirts depending on the brand) and around 93 kg just so you have an idea about my size.

Anyway, my daily style is very simple: Converse/Vans, simple jeans, a T-shirt and a random jacket/hoodie, and I can go out. But as I’m turning 21 soon, I want a mature style. Something casual, clean yet classy and trendy.

My thoughts on the new style would be something like a dress shirt/plaid shirt, jeans and boots. Thank you very much.

Kaii, 20/Toronto, Canada

Kaii, if you want to make gradual updates to your wardrobe to achieve your desired mature and classy look, you’re definitely on the right track. Your dress shirt-jeans-and-boots idea is a good start but of course, there’s always room for improvement right? The more you get used to your new look and gain confidence with it, the more you can continue to tweak it further.

Shirts make a HUGE difference
I know how a lot of guys usually wear an open button-down shirt over a regular T-shirt for a casual, everyday look. Now try wearing the shirt properly closed and buttoned, and tucked into jeans. See how different it looks?

Same Shirt, Different Looks

Shirts are more structured than tees, which are usually made of softer material. For you, it means that even if you’re on the bulky side, a shirt helps you look more streamlined (as long as it’s the right size and has a good fit). Try wearing shirts with small designs or patterns in neutral tones at first, like pinstripes or small dots in gray, navy blue or white first. As for plaid, I would suggest you look into smaller checks to visually minimize you instead of the usual lumberjack versions. Fold up the cuffs a little and wear it untucked when it’s warmer. While it’s still cold, a blazer, jacket or single-breasted coat will look just dandy with it.

Update your jeans
While I’m not telling you to totally abandon all your trendy yet comfy distressed/baggy/skater jeans and shorts, you certainly should also upgrade your pants. I always advise readers to go for dark-rinse jeans. Whether for men or women, dark-rinse jeans are the casual yet still elegant version of dark trousers. They’re still denim, ultra-comfortable to wear, and goes with EVERYTHING. Don’t go for the ones that are bleached or creased at the thighs as these are unflattering especially if you have big legs. Opt for mid-rise jeans instead of saggy, low-rise versions to create a good visual balance on your body.

Classy, cool and smart jackets
Always go for single-breasted jackets and coats, Kaii, as the vertical column of buttons and zip closures flatter your physique better. Avoid super wide, exaggerated collars, as well as stand collars or collars that are too small – you want to show your neck as much as possible. I like how bomber jackets look on most male body types since the lack of pockets and other distracting details creates a cleaner silhouette which is ideal, especially if you’re heavier on top. You can layer a thin hoodie under a blazer for modern-day preppy, But an avant-garde hoodie with a diagonal zip or a draped neckline will also earn you cool points.

Best foot forward!
Since you also mentioned shoes, my friend, boots are definitely a good idea. Chukka boots strike a great balance between casual and dressy and a suede pair teams wonderfully with corduroy pants for plenty of textural interest. Your Converse and Vans sneakers are still cool, but a little occasional cleaning won’t hurt. A pair of leather sneakers or slip-ons are also a great option, especially for spring or fall, while your canvas pairs will do summer duty.

Being chubby shouldn’t stop you from wanting to look better, Kaii. Don’t hesitate to email me again, okay?


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